The College of Law would like to introduce you to our newest professor, Lauren McLane! Professor McLane is the Faculty Director of the Defender Aid Clinic, and teaches courses in Forensic Evidence, as well as Advanced Criminal Procedure in collaboration with the UW Criminal Justice Department. She was also an enthusiastic volunteer faculty member for Wyoming Summer Trial Institute.
Professor McLane has settled into her new role seamlessly. She has been extremely proactive providing excellent learning opportunities for the students and reinvigorating the clinic. She recently organized an event in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project and Pathway from Prison Organization, exploring the use of DNA testing and exoneration of falsely incarcerated prisoners in Wyoming – an event that had a record crowd in attendance.
At the helm of the clinic, McLane has big plans. While the clinic will continue to take on multiple appeal cases, McLane is hoping to shift the caseload to be more litigation based. This will allow the students to take a more hands-on approach in both trial advocacy and the appeal process, making them more versatile in their practice.
In order to achieve the goal of serving as both an appellate advocacy training group, and a trial advocacy program, the clinic will be working in partnership with the City of Laramie Attorney’s Office. Students will be able to take on misdemeanor cases in municipal court and manage the full case from start to finish. Additionally, the Clinic will work on integrating innocence claims back into their caseload in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.
“We are really excited to be working with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center,” says McLane. “Because this Clinic has historically been a post-conviction clinic, we want to continue doing that type of work, not only for our students, but because my predecessor Diane Courselle, was a member on their board and passionate about it. It feels very exciting and appropriate to keep that alive in the clinic.”
Professor McLane brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her new role. She completed her J.D. at Seattle University School of Law in Seattle, Washington, in 2008, and her B.S. degree in Communications at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, in 2002.
Prior to joining the UW College of Law in July 2018, McLane served in a variety of positions in the area of criminal defense. In 2009, she began her career as a public defender in King County, Washington, at The Defender Association where she represented indigent clients accused of crimes in a wide range of cases at both the misdemeanor and felony levels. In 2014, Professor McLane joined the private law firm of Padula & Associates where she continued her work in criminal defense. In her time as both a public defender and private practitioner, Professor McLane represented her clients at all stages of criminal defense practice and tried a significant number of jury trials, including felony trials that included serious charges such as murder. In 2017, Professor McLane joined the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington School of Law where she investigated innocence claims made by Washington state prisoners and advocated and litigated for access to post-conviction DNA testing.
Early on in her career, Professor McLane became interested and highly competent in the area of forensic science; she has been published in this area, including her contributions to a publication accepted by the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 2014 and a book chapter in 2015-2016.
Professor McLane has also been recognized for her contributions to criminal defense work in the state of Washington, including a President’s Award from the Washington Defender Association in 2013 and a Champion of Justice Award from the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2017. In 2011, Professor McLane began to train other lawyers in the areas of forensic science and pretrial and trial advocacy; she remained highly sought-after by lawyers and criminal defense entities for both technical assistance in case work as well as trainings and seminars until she left Washington state for the UW College of Law in July 2018.
Professor McLane’s primary research and scholarly interests lie at the crossroads of criminal law and forensic science. In her work, she has returned numerous times to questions about forensic science and its application in criminal courts, critically analyzing whether proper science is being admitted in courtrooms. Related to this area, Professor McLane is also interested in researching, teaching, and writing centered on concepts of meta- and accelerated learning for law students and lawyers. One of Professor McLane’s purposes for teaching law school is to help students master complex areas of the law and then practically apply those concepts and principles to the real world of lawyering.
“This is very much a dream job for me,” says McLane. “It has all of things that are important to me rolled into in one. Not only do I get to continue practicing the law, I get to teach the law to students. This job allows me to focus the areas of the law that I’m extremely passionate about and integrate them practically into my pedagogy, and then further apply it in the real life courtroom.”
The College of Law is very excited at the arrival of Professor McLane and looks forward to seeing the Clinical activities grow and thrive under her tutelage.